8 Reasons Frugal Families Love Boardgame Night

By Samantha Stauf on 21 July 2016 0 comments

My siblings and I spent our childhood playing popular, mainstream board games. Monopoly, The Game of Life, Clue, Chinese Checkers, and Pictionary granted us hours of family fun, interrupted occasionally by a temper tantrum. Monopoly, as many people know, can be dull and brutal.

Playing board games died off in my high school years. Once I hit college, I was introduced to a wider variety of games — and the spark was rekindled. Instead of vegging in front of the TV or spending money to go see a movie, we began to sit down to play board games once again. Here are eight reasons why you should pick up boardgaming as a family activity, too.

1. So Many Game Options

Dozens of new games are introduced every year by major board game companies and individuals through Kickstarter campaigns. You don't need, nor should you, limit your family to the games you can find on Walmart's shelves.

A local game store, or Amazon, will all have a broader collection of board games that range anywhere from $5-$100. This large collection of potential games will increase the chance of finding a game your family will love at the right price range.

2. Game Guidance From the Pros

Don't be intimidated by a new game. No one expects you to fork over the money for a game without a little guidance on how to play. There are a number of YouTube channels dedicated to reviewing and recommending games to help individuals find good games.

Frugal families might want to check out any of these YouTube shows to watch reviews of games before purchasing the game:

3. Access to Simple and Clear Game Rules

Board games can be complicated. I have a game that has around 30 pages of rules. Even as an experienced gamer, I find that a tad intimidating. There are a variety of different interactive and visual means to help families deal with learning these complicated rules for more enjoyable game play.

  • Check out free board game rules introduction videos (as mentioned above) and game playthroughs on YouTube.
  • Search the Android or iTunes app store for free or cheap digital versions of the game. Ascension and Coup are both complicated games that have free app versions that provide interactive walkthroughs.
  • Look for free game aids that can help you understand the rules, set the game's difficulty level, and randomize board setup. Settlers of Catan, Legendary, and Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game all have free player aids.

4. You Can Shop Bigger, for Lower Prices

Support your local TableTop store when you can, but don't feel bad if you occasionally need to turn to bigger retailers like Toys 'R Us, Target, Amazon, or Walmart for lower prices. Even better, if you find a game at a store you can't in good conscious shop from, you can utilize price matching to get that lower price on either an in-store or online purchase.

5. Try Board Game Rental Services

An alternative option to creating your own version of popular games is to rent board games rather than buy them. This has the bonus of being fairly cheap, allows you to explore different types of games, and allows you to play games that might be out of your price range.

You can either rent games by seeing if your local board game store has a rental service, or checking out an online board game rental store. In rare cases, you might even find that your local library has added board games to their rental collection.

6. DIY Board Games

Not ready to spend $60 for a game? Here's a bit of good news: With a little creativity and work, you can easily create DIY board games to save money.

Don't stop there though. There are a number of fun games you can easily DIY.

  • Telestrations — A mix of telephone and Pictionary, requires you to cut out 30+ medium-sized pieces of paper and give everyone a pen.
  • Superfight — A game where you present a case over which person, object, or animal in a match-up would win. It only requires you to cut out card-sized pieces of paper. On 1/3 of the pieces of paper, you will write any sentient object, person, or creature. On the rest of the cards, in a different color pen or a different color paper, you'll write an object, personality trait, or physical trait.

7. Fan-Made DIY Board Games

There are tons of dedicated fans that have already done all the hard work of creating original fan games or expansions of already-made board games. All you need to do is download the PDF versions of their work and print it off at home.

Here are a few free fan-made versions of board games:

8. Choose Games With High Replay Value

Board games can be expensive. Games tend to run anywhere from $10-$60. Yes, a $60 game might be expensive, but you can make that price worth it by carefully choosing games that grant high replay value. These are games that often come with extra boards, scenarios, or cards that offer a slightly fresh gaming experience each time you play. These are also games where it isn't easy for players to pinpoint a set strategy to win.

Here are a few games with high replay value:

  • Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game
  • Betrayal at the House on the Hill
  • Robo Rally
  • Cosmic Encounter

If you need a new pastime, board games can be a fun, cost-effective activity that offer hours of family fun. Between the vast number of games and the rapidly growing TableTop community — on and off-line — now is the time to adopt board gaming as a new family pastime.

Do you have family game nights? Which board games do you play? Share with us!

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Guest's picture
Guest Mihail

My husband's favorite is Roll Through the Ages. My kids (DS9 & DS12) like Pecunia Non Olet (Money Doesn't Stink) because it's about toilets. I like the card game Fluxx. Chinese checkers and chess are regulars, too.